As a part of the SEFORÏS project (Social Enterprise as FORce for more Inclusive and Innovative Societies), we wrote a brief report of the state of social entrepreneurship in the United Kingdom.
The report highlights:
The social enterprise field is very diverse. Social enterprises in the UK represent a great range in terms of age, size, revenues, location, scope, activities, and legal forms.
There is a growing social entrepreneurship support ecosystem. There are over 100 such organisations in the UK, including incubators, accelerators, networks, co-working spaces, social impact measurement tools, social investment financial intermediaries, and universities, that provide support for starting up, sustaining, growing, and internationalising social enterprises.
Support is becoming more specialised. Specialised intermediaries focus on different sectors (e.g. health, technology, education, energy), regions (e.g. North of England), and types of social entrepreneurs (e.g. women and youth).
Financing and funding social enterprises is still a challenge. Lack of, or limited access to, financing is the most common barrier to starting up, growing and innovating, according to social entrepreneurs in the UK.
The impact investment market is growing. It reached £202 million with 765 deals made by 29 social investment financial intermediaries in 2012. New and more specialised funds have been launched to invest in specific sectors, outcomes or regions.
There is increasing pressure and support to demonstrate social impact. This is essential for the 52% of social enterprises that trade with the public sector.
The government remains heavily involved. Improving the legal form for social enterprises, introducing a tax relief, modifying legal structures, enabling a stronger social enterprise support ecosystem, and creating demand for the services of social enterprises are examples of the government’s heavy involvement in the field.
Social enterprises catalyse inclusive and innovative activities, practices and societies in four main ways.
You can read the report here.
Development stage: completed